Manchester United’s Anthony Elanga missed the decisive penalty as Middlesbrough conjured some FA Cup magic to dump Manchester United out on penalties after a 1-1 draw in normal time.
Maraduncan Watmore 👌#UTB
— Jar!! (@Philosoccer2) February 4, 2022
Jadon Sancho opened the scoring in the 25th minute with a shot that took a slight deflection off the impressive Isaiah Jones.
Matt Crooks’ controversial equaliser in the 64th minute levelled the scores after the break, but neither side could find a winner in normal time.
The game remained goalless after extra time and after Lee Peltier stepped up to slot the 15th consecutive successful penalty, Elanga smashed his effort over the bar and into the Stretford End to send the Championship side through to the fifth round.
Sancho almost scored for United inside 90 seconds, hitting the crossbar with a delightful chip from 25 yards out after visiting goalkeeper Joe Lumley failed to collect the ball.
And Chris Wilder’s side conceded a spot-kick in the 19th minute when Anfernee Dijksteel slipped, bringing down Paul Pogba in the process.
Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to take United’s 44th penalty since August 2019, but the Portuguese forward dragged his shot wide to send the Boro fans into a state of euphoria.
They weren’t cheering for long as Sancho scored his third United goal in all competitions with a left-footed shot from a tight angle that nestled into the bottom right corner of Lumley’s goal.
United had the ball in the net yet again four minutes later when Marcus Rashford’s blistering shot went straight through Lumley, who was relieved to see the offside flag go up.
Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun had his side’s chance of the half when he picked up the ball on the break, but his right-footed curling effort from a distance sailed over the bar.
Following an intricate corner routine, Rashford took another powerful long-range shot on goal that sailed into the palms of Lumley to end a commanding first-half performance from Manchester United.
The game sprung into life after the break, with end-to-end action that saw Rashford come close after a sublime dinked pass from Sancho found him in space in the box, but Lumley’s fine stop sent it over the bar.
It looked like a goal was imminent when Crooks forced a fantastic save from Dean Henderson, who did well to stop the midfielder’s shot from finding the top right corner considering he’d had very little to do all evening.
And it was Crooks who was celebrating in front of the Boro fans in the 64th minute after he finished from close range.
The goal wasn’t without controversy, though, with the ball appearing to hit substitute Duncan Watmore’s hand in the build-up.
Referee Anthony Taylor ruled the handball as accidental because it wasn’t the action that led directly to the goal, and due to a rule change last year, his initial decision stood after a VAR check.
Rashford forced another save from Lumley with a shot from a tight angle, and seconds later, another calamitous bit of Boro defending ended with Bruno Fernandes hitting the left post.
Neither side could be separated after 90 minutes, and both teams looked exhausted during the first period of extra time.
When the sides returned to the field, Lumley tipped a Fernandes header over the bar, though it wouldn’t have stood as the linesman raised his flag for offside.
Paddy McNair nearly haunted his former side in the final five minutes when his flick found Aaron Connolly, but Henderson’s forearm prevented his close-range shot from finding the back of the net.
And Lumley tipped Scott McTominay’s header over the bar with two minutes remaining to send the game to penalties.
United had lost six of their last seven penalty shootouts, and their record went from bad to worse when Elanga missed the 16th effort to end a superb shootout and send Boro through to the next round.
— Emirates FA Cup (@EmiratesFACup) February 4, 2022
Manchester United coach Ralf Rangnick: “We should and could have easily been up 3-0 after 45 minutes and even in the second half we missed some great opportunities, even after they scored their goal that shouldn’t have stood. So we have to blame ourselves.”